Establishing a Virtual Community

The educator designs a community experience capable of creating meaningful common work through mutual engagement and shared voice.
Made by Center for Teaching Quality

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator guides the group through a process that builds relationships through engaging in common meaningful work, sharing stories, identifying individual team member strengths, and establishing the shared expectations of the community.

Method Components

Group members, a common work domain, and purpose are identified prior to the start of this work. This micro-credential includes several components:

  • Establishment of norms created by the group, rather than a list provided by a single stakeholder, is evident.
  • Communication is indicative of respectful relationships (i.e., two-way rather than one-way).
  • The group creates a shared definition of meaningful work that strengthens the practices of the community.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • What is a Community of Practice? Wenger-Trayner, Etienne, and Bev Wenger-Trayner. “Introduction to Communities of Practice.” WengerTrayner. TeamBE, June 1, 2010.
  • Types of Community Strengths and Activity. Gladwell, Malcolm. “Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen: The Secret to Your Success.” Escape from Cubicle Nation. April 23, 2010.
  • The Value of Belonging. De Laat, Martin, Wenger-Trayner, Etienne, and Bev Wenger-Trayner. "Introduction to Communities of Practice: Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework." WengerTrayner. Ruud De Moor Centrum, 2011.


  • CTQ Voice Curriculum.
    Before you decide on your work, it is suggested that you have a strong sense of skill sets and passions that help contribute to it.
  • Define Your Team’s Strengths.
    Establishment of group norms increases ownership in the community and facilitates a two-way interaction, rather than a one-way set of rules. Negotiation of boundaries and commonalities strengthens the investment of the group through individual buy-in and creates meaningful opportunities for interaction in a comfortable, trusting environment.

Wenger-Trayner, Etienne, and Bev Wenger-Trayner. "Levels of Participation" WengerTrayner. TeamBE, June 1, 2010.

  • Telling Our Stories Introduction, Setting Norms.
    Defining the scope of meaningful work helps to unite the group by honoring stakeholder voice and expertise and creating natural niches or on-ramps for synchronous or asynchronous collaboration through a variety of roles and the exercise of personal expertise.

Karten, Naomi. "AgileConnection | Creating Team Norms."AgileConnection. September 25, 2003.

  • Defining the Work. "Malcolm Gladwell on Meaningful Work and Curiosity." Signal vs. Noise by Basecamp—Business, Design, Programming and the Web. December 31, 2008.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a Proficient or Exemplary evaluation in all four categories for Part 2 and Passing scores for each of the questions in Parts 1, 3, and 4.

Part 1. Overview questions

  • Activity Description (250–400 words): What type or length of activity did you and your team members engage in to build relationships, establish norms, and engage in the definition of your work?
  • Activity Evaluation (200 words or less): How do you know your efforts are focused on two-way communication with a team rather than one-way delivery to an audience?

Part 2. Educator artifacts

Submit documentation (e.g., short video or curated online text chat) that demonstrates competence in online facilitation. Video artifacts should be no more than 5 minutes and text artifacts should be no more than 5 pages. Include a summary (200 words or less) of the initial meeting of the group where group norms were established. The video clip or text conversations should provide evidence of the work accomplished at the initial meetings, including sharing of individual stories and strengths, negotiation of norms, and definition of the initial meaningful work.

Your artifact will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a score of Exemplary or Proficient for each of the components in this portion to earn the micro-credential.

Part 3. Community participant reflection

Submit two participant-created reflections from the community using the following questions as guidance
(200-word limit for each reflection):

  • What is your understanding of the meaningful work to be done, and what are the strengths of two community members? How and why can they help move that work forward?
  • How were you able to work with the community to develop expectations and norms and strengthen relationships with others in this activity? Use specific details and examples.

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (200-word limit):

  • What is the work of the community, and how will the team’s strengths support that work?
  • How did the open, shared environment shape the meaningful work to be done?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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